An Assessment of Environmental Effects (AEE) is a written statement from you that identifies and details potential environmental effects that might arise as a result of any work you are undertaking, and how the negative effects of this work could be avoided.
Under the Resource Management Act, the term 'environmental effect' refers to virtually any imaginable change to the environment at and around the location of the proposed activity. Environmental effects can be:
Some examples of environmental effects are an increase in traffic, soil erosion, changes to the character of the street or landscape, loss of recreational value, or noise and visual impact.
What is it exactly that you intend to do? Which District Plan rule or rules will your project breach? How will it affect the environment? You will need to think about your proposal and how it will change the site you intend to use or develop.
Even if you already own and live on the site, you should take a fresh look at the area and think about its physical limitations and locality. For example: Is the site flat or sloping? Are there any significant trees or vegetation? Are there any unusual features? What is on the neighbouring properties? Is there access to Council services? If you're not sure about items such as significant trees or Council services please contact us.
Processing your application is generally simpler and quicker, and less costly, if you meet with us before submitting your application. A pre-application meeting will assist with:
Consider the site of your proposal and its locality, understand the environmental issues that would result from your activity. AEEs should anticipate what could be considered in unexpected situations.
Once you have identified the actual and potential effects, you should consider how significant they are likely to be. What might happen? What could be the scale, intensity, duration and frequency of the effects?
For example, an extension to an existing building might result in the following effects:
Using all of the information that you've gathered for the AEE, take a fresh look at your proposal and see if you need to change anything. You might decide that some environmental effects of your activity would be significant and that you should change your proposal to avoid or fix (remedy) them, or to reduce their effect (mitigate). There might be alternative ways, with less-significant environmental effects, that would achieve the same goals.
Avoid', 'remedy' and 'mitigate' are terms used in the Resource Management Act. Each represents a different way of addressing an adverse effect so that it is acceptable. For example, regarding an adverse visual effect of a quarry:
All three actions might address the adverse effect, but all three outcomes might not be acceptable to the community.
Re-evaluating your proposed activity can result in a 'win-win' situation, with a better proposal design and better environmental outcomes.
The greater the scale and significance of the effects that your activity might have on the environment, the more information you will need to provide in your AEE.
You need to include enough information in your AEE so we can properly evaluate your proposal. Some proposals will require more detail and analysis than others. For example, adding a carport onto the side of a house is likely to require much less information and detail than a multi-storey development in an area that is valued for its natural attributes.
You should also check Schedule 4 of the Resource Management Act 1991 (copies are available from the Legislation New Zealand website or from council offices). This schedule is a guide to what should be considered when preparing an AEE.
For more complex applications, you might need to get specialist advice. There are a number of professionals who assist in preparing AEEs, such as engineers and resource management consultants. Council staff can tell you if you need specialist advice and what type of professional would be best to help.
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Page last updated: 12:09PM Fri 21 January 2022